by Robert Adcox
Great things happened in 2006. The Steelers won their fifth Super Bowl. My credit score improved a lot. I finally had my beloved ’79 Chrysler LeBaron running again.
And, of course, I got hired to work in pricing at a department store.
For the uninitiated, pricing is comprised of two people whose mission is to systematically inventory softline merchandise in various departments preselected for upcoming sales. In English, whenever we got word that blouses were going to be on sale next Thursday, we inventoried them so we’d know which ones would get the “Hey Gladys -this puce frilly lace number is just right for you, babydoll” types of attention-getting sale signs so rampant in that main staple of a middle American department store.
Now, inventorying stuff in a store is pretty easy: you scan merchandise with a scanner aka a handheld Star Trek phaser-looking laser reader and check the type and number of items off of a paper checklist. So simple even a Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator can figure it out.
Of course, there’s the issue of 783 elderly ladies scouring the department for “unmentionables” juxtaposed against my need to scan lingerie for the upcoming sale. Clearly, this is going to be an issue. When a woman is eighty-eight years old and stands four feet, eleven inches and simply wants to purchase a pair of underwear, I’m sure by now that she doesn’t want some big ox rummaging around her with a scanner (Bleep. Excuse me. Bleep. Sorry. Can I get that for you? Bleep. What’s this thing with straps hanging all over it? Bleep…) Well, it turns out that that just wasn’t traumatic enough, so to complete my grueling training, my trainer decided I needed to inventory something easier. In my case, that meant bras.
Ah yes, bras. Just around the corner in their very own polite little department. All I have to do is approach them as though I belong there, scan, bleep, cross off of a checklist, retreat. Commando in-and-out mission. Sweet.
I can’t find the tag on the 46 DDD job which is so big it’s almost scraping the carpet. To make things worse, the label is on the part of the strap-thing which is on the floor -and the bra itself is in the VERY back of a bra rack which itself looks like it was designed by I.M. Pei after a long weekend binge in Atlantic City. Gertie, having been traumatized by my earlier attempt at guerilla warfare over in the panties department mere minutes ago, gives me the iciest stare given a man since that time ol’ Zsa Zsa got pulled over by Officer Bob Kramer -and we all know how that turned out. Anyway, bleep. Playtex bras are inventoried. Bleep. Got all of the Maidenform “Give-Me-A-Hug” stock. Bleep…
Good heavens. How did 46,072 bras end up on the floor? Turns out that when I tried to scan the 46 DDD aforementioned, it fell on the floor and took everything with it. Now I’m on my hands and knees. In the bra section. With a scanning device and a clipboard. Surrounded by 783 ladies who have been waiting since 6:14 am to buy the very merchandise I’m now frantically trying to put back on the racks. The hangers they use for bras are made of an extremely delicate plastic. I never knew that until I began frantically grabbing handfuls of Fruit-Of-The-Looms’ finest and trying to hang up five or so at a time. It was awful.
Hangers snapped like twigs.
Bras, now without hangers, lay helplessly on the floor by the dozens.
The scanner, now low on battery power, began issuing some type of high-pitched primal scream.
783 ladies began scolding me, shouting at me in mean little voices.
I soon found a new job at a nonprofit company where they frown on polite little plastic hangers.